Richmond Council’s Cabinet last night agreed that the Clifden Site should be used for a new Catholic primary and secondary school.
This decision follows on from last week’s Education and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee where members voted to support the Diocese of Westminster’s proposals to establish voluntary-aided Catholic schools, on the Twickenham site.
At the meeting, Cabinet members reviewed the recent consultation results where sixty seven per cent of parents and residents who responded agreed that the site should be used to establish a new, five-form entry Catholic Secondary School, with thirty two per cent disagreeing.
In relation to the primary school proposals, members took into consideration the fact that fifty seven per cent of respondents also agreed with the proposal that a new, one-form entry Catholic primary school should also be established on the site with thirty four per cent of respondents disagreeing.
Members also reviewed the proposals from the Diocese, and the results from their statutory consultation.
The Council will now prepare a legal liaising agreement for the Diocese. At the same time the Diocese will work up further plans for the schools, considering issues such as staff, admissions and curriculum.
Cllr Paul Hodgins, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Schools, said:
“Last night’s meeting clearly showed the strong feelings in the community about the future of this site. Whilst we have always said that it has been a long standing commitment of the Council to support the establishment a Catholic Secondary in the borough, we also made a commitment to listen.
“Over 4,000 residents took part in the consultation, with an overwhelming number of people wanting the site to be used for the Catholic schools. We also said in advance that we would carefully consider the merits of the arguments put forward on either side. Last night we did this.
“I now look forward to working with the Diocese to develop plans for the site further.”
Bishop John Sherrington, Chairman of The Diocese of Westminster Education Commission, said:
“The Diocese of Westminster is delighted with the approval from Richmond Council for the development of a new Catholic Secondary and Primary school at Clifden Road, Twickenham. Working with our partners in the Archdiocese of Southwark, we are grateful to members of the Cabinet for funding a way to deliver on a long-standing manifesto promise to make a Catholic secondary school a reality. My thanks also go to the very many people within the Richmond Catholic community and others who have done so much to bring this dream to fruition in order to further the common good. We now look forward to working in partnership with the Borough to establish the school at the heart of the community in Twickenham."
Paul Barber, Director of the Diocese of Westminster Education Service added:
"The approval of our proposals for new schools in Richmond is an exciting development in the history of Catholic education in the Diocese, including our first new secondary school in twelve years.
“We must pay tribute to the officers and members of the Council in ensuring that a robust and open consultation process took place. That gratitude extends also to those holding differing views who were prepared to put their time and energy in to ensure that the important issues of principal were aired and debated in a true democratic spirit.
“We want to continue to work with the whole community in Richmond to create a vibrant and inclusive Catholic school which is a full and active member of the Richmond family of schools."